What if there was a drug that could "cure" racism? This may be true: Tests of the commonly prescribed heart drug propranolol show that it can alter unconscious racial bias--After volunteers took the drug, they were less racially biased than those who took a placebo.
Racism is based on fear and propranolol helps reduce fear by blocking nerve circuits that govern the heart rate and the part of the brain linked with emotional responses.
In the Independent, Jeremy Laurance quotes researcher Julian Savulescu as saying, "Such research raises the tantalizing possibility that our unconscious racial attitudes could be modulated by using drugs, a possibility that requires careful ethical analysis. Given that many people are already using drugs like propranolol which have 'moral' side effects, we at least need to better understand what these effects are."
But claims that the United States entered a post-racial era with the election of Barack Obama are premature--blacks and whites in the US still live in different worlds.
Political scientist Pearl Ford Dowe says, "According (a recent) poll, the presence of the first African American family in the White House has done little to alleviate these attitudes." Her research shows that stereotypes stigmatizing African Americans and Latinos remain strong.
Dowe's analysis of data collected in the poll reveals "a relevant and stark racial divide" in both perceptions of American society and in support for public policies. The data show whites "seem to remain less supportive of policies designed to improve equality, particularly in comparison to African Americans and Latinos," a reality reflected in the day-to-day experiences reported by African Americans across the country. Of the national sample, 81% of African Americans in the South and 80.3% of African Americans from elsewhere in the country reported experiencing discrimination in their day-to-day life.
“Will America eventually move to a post-racial society? Probably no time soon. Dowe says, "That is difficult to tell, but what is clear is that different racial perspectives have yet to converge."
Unlike most countries in the world, here in the US we're ALL hybrids, of one sort or another (and subscribers now have a coupon that gets them a copy of Hybrids for less than $2!) This novel is hard to find in bookstores, but you can still get it (along with an autographed bookplate designed by Whitley) from the Whitley Strieber Collection.
And there's something wonderful coming up for you in the near future, whether you're black or white (or Gray?): Our annual Dreamland Festival, which will be held this year in May. Come hear things you've never heard before, but hurry: Our tickets are selling out fast (as of this posting, we have fewer than 20 seats left).